50 State Challenge Map

50 State Challenge Map
States completed

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Grand Slam!

From my good friends over at the Rock n Roll Marathon Series:

"Congratulations, Alberto!

You rocked the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon and earned the Grand Slam Heavy Medal for completing 4 races in the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series!"

I'm looking forward to getting what will be my last Heavy Medal of 2012 and working towards accumulating others in 2013!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Army 10-miler

Today was the Army 10-miler in DC, the largest 10-miler in the United States.  The total number of participants was 30,100.  There were four runners in particular among the crowd that I was interested in seeing.  They would be my very good friends Beth, Teresa, Jeanette, and Lorin.  I ended up heading down to the Memorial Bridge early with Carla to set up camp and wait for them to pass by.  Luckily, we spotted all four of them!  And they looked great.

The weather was perfect for their race today as the morning temps hovered around 49.  A very nice Autumn day.

Heading over to the Memorial Bridge (Army trucks in view)

Arlington National Cemetery

Sun over the Memorial Bridge

At mile 2 waiting for our friends Beth, Teresa, Lorin, and Jeanette

Wheelchair athletes and wounded warriors

Elite runners


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Up next: New Hampshire

So I've got my next Half coming up in Manchester on November 4.  I'm excited and also a little bummed about the timing of this race. It falls on November 4 which is the date of the ING NYC marathon.  I knew this and totally forgot.  If I had remembered, I'd most likely be in NYC that day.  The NYC marathon is awesome and I've got a few friends running it.  So again the timing is bad.  But, I've reviewed the Manchester Half one more time and think it's going to be a great weekend.

I'll flying into Manchester on Friday, Nov. 2 to get settled in and take advantage of the Autumn trails outside the city.  I'll be renting a car to take a trip either Friday afternoon or perhaps all day Saturday once I pick up my packet.  Just like with W. Va, I'm hoping for a nice Fall weekend. 

The pictures will be nice and the weekend should be fun. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

W. Virginia race day

A great Half and a great day today!  I got to indulge in two of my favorite things:  running and history.

The race started at 8:05 am so we were up early to catch the shuttle to the start.  One word can describe this morning as I waited to start this race:  COLD.  It peeked at 32 F around 7:30 am.  But, I like cool temps for running so I knew this would work once I got moving.

The route was fantastic.  It went through downtown Shepherdstown, through the C & O Canal, and then into Sharpsburg, Maryland (both historical Civil War towns) towards Antietam Battlefield.  I took one picture below to show the hills of the battlefield on this crisp, sunny morning.  It was great.  I fought the temptation to stop every five minutes and take pictures as I knew I'd be returning after the race to take a little tour.  But, this route which took me through such a significant part of our history was certainly a first in my 50 state challenge.

This was definitely a hilly race.  We're not talking the killer hills of Fairfield (Connecticut Half) but it certainly presented a challenge.  As I state above, running through Antietam was where I encountered the bulk of the hills and that was after a nice half mile stretch starting at just around mile three.  That's when I knew this was going to be a little tough.  My Plantars never bothered me once which is good.  However, as per the norm, it's a bit tender a few hours later and will require a little bit of stretching before calling it a day tonight.

I finished in 1:45:43 with a pace of 8:04 and placed 22nd in my age group (30-39)  I know I'll do better next time but I'm happy with this time.

After the race Carla and I headed back downtown to get some breakfast at Betty's before heading over to the Antietam Visitor Center to take a tour.  I'll let the pictures below do the talking.  Every picture I took tells a story of the battle that day.  I could be here typing all day about each picture but just know that everywhere you looked pretty much tells a story of a battle or turning point that day.  One story in particular that caught my attention was that of The Sunken Road.  The soldiers would later call it "Bloody Lane."

Up next is New Hampshire in three weeks on November 4.  I'll update as we get closer.  Should be nice as I've never been to New Hampshire.

Enjoy ...

Walking to the start

Staging area and finish.

Heading to the start line

I just liked the colors on this tree.

This was helpful in leading us to the start line.

Running through the hills of Antietam Battlefield.

Finish line.

Time for breakfast at Betty's

Just a little tired.

One for the Confederates.

One for the Union.

Heading to The Sunken Road, also known as "Bloody Lane"

"Bloody Lane" (this pic is the after.  See here for the before)

War Observation Tower built in 1862

Heading home.

Friday, October 12, 2012

W. Virginia arrival

The drive through Maryland and into W. Va was great.  It was a sunny Fall day and the last hour of the drive was pretty much going through small farm towns.  You really get that feeling of being in the middle of nowhere.  It was nice.  We passed through Antietam Battlefield and cemetery so now I know where I'll be stopping by tomorrow on my way home.  I'm really looking forward to it.

Once Carla and I arrived in Shepherdstown this afternoon we checked into the hotel and went straight over to the Shepherd University Wellness Center to pick up my packet.

The pics from today are few but there will be more up tomorrow.  Race starts at 8:05 and then it's off to see some of the sites.  Details tomorrow.

The obligatory Welcome sign.

Carla got in on the action.

Packet pick up.

I might win this one as it seems I have no competitors.

Dinner time.